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VA Appealing to Physicians to Join Agency

Key efforts in response to 2014 scandal include reducing wait times, engaging employees

FRIDAY, July 6, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is appealing to physicians to join the agency as part of its recovery from a 2014 scandal linked to excessive wait times, according to a report published by the American Medical Association.

David Shulkin, M.D., undersecretary of health at the VA, appealed to physicians to contribute to the VA’s rebuilding effort. The VA has openings for 1,800 physicians and 44,000 employees, who are needed to accommodate the agency’s growing population of patients.

The scandal of 2014 relating to excessive patient wait times and allegations of deceptive record-keeping has spurred the VA to respond. Its five key efforts involve reducing wait times for patients, engaging employees in their sense of mission, adopting best practices across VA facilities, expanding access to care by partnering with the private sector, and restoring the confidence of veterans and the public in the VA system. In order to entice doctors, the VA has fewer contributors to burnout, including not having to deal with insurance companies and medical liability issues.

“We desperately need physicians and have to make it an attractive place to work,” Shulkin, a primary care physician, said in a statement. “I think we’re working on that.”

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